Public Worries About Shale Gas Fracking
Americans are not opposed to more domestic energy production, but they are unwilling to achieve it by sacrificing clean water, increased energy efficiency, and expanded wind and solar power in the process, according to a new ORC International survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) and Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The telephone poll was conducted December 26-29, 2012 with of 809 adults 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent. Key poll findings include:
- Three quarters of Americans have heard of fracking, with 51 percent saying they are very or somewhat familiar with it. 79 percent of Americans are concerned about fracking “as it relates to water quality.”
- 62 percent of Americans oppose “expanding US production of shale gas for use by other nations” first before the health research is done, as recommended recently by more than 100 US health professionals. This approach is supported by about half (49 percent) of Republicans, and over two thirds of Independents and Democrats, at 67 percent and 69 percent, respectively.
- 86 percent of Americans “support more studies of the health and environmental consequences of the chemicals” used in fracking. Supporters of this approach include 81 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 89 percent of Democrats.
- 88 percent of Americans want leadership when it comes to exercising caution on exporting energy – such as natural gas – that could boost China and other economies, but hurt US consumers by raising energy and manufacturing costs at home. Nearly identical support levels were seen here along partisan lines: 88 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Independents, 87 percent of Democrats.
Key survey findings on broad energy issues include:
- 94 percent of Americans – including 92 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents, and 98 percent of Democrats – want political leadership on balancing calls for more energy production in US with protecting clean water and air.
- 91 percent of Americans feel it is important that their member of Congress demonstrate leadership on a “national agenda for clean energy and protecting America’s water and air.” The vast majority of Republicans (85 percent), Independents (87 percent), and Democrats (96 percent) agree on the need for such leadership.
- 92 percent of Americans think “U.S. energy planning and decision making” should be based on “a comprehensive understanding of what our national water resources are” – a national water roadmap that Congress asked for, but which was never produced. The national water roadmap attracts the support of 92 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 94 percent of Democrats.
- 86 percent of Americans want leadership on shifting from coal and nuclear energy to wind and solar. Support for this approach exists across party lines, including 72 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Independents, and 97 percent of Democrats.
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